A vision for the future

Development Policy18 Mar 2013Ruud Lubbers

There is chance for us to overcome the challenge of water security if we really live our lives on the basis of respect for diversity, all people and for the Earth.

Wings for Water, the title of the multi-stakeholder dialogue on water, will bring together a diverse group of people from all parts of the world in the Peace Palace in The Hague, the day before World Water Day, 22 March 2013.

Crown Prince Willem Alexander will welcome all participants and will share his vision on water. Just one month later he will take over the Crown from Queen Beatrix, who devoted her yearly Christmas speeches to thoughts on social cohesion, respect for the Earth and life in all its diversity. In her speech in December 2011 she referred to the Earth Charter. The preparations for the Crown Prince to become King of the Netherlands have included a focus on the issue of water management and a function as chair of the United Nations Secretary-General’s Advisory Board on Water and Sanitation (UNSGAB).

New global goals – from Millennium Development Goals to Sustainable Development Goals, as decided at the Rio+20 Earth Summit in June 2012 – will only be reached if they are viewed and implemented from the perspective of in their interlinkages. Fighting poverty, care for sustainable development and ensuring a vital Mother Earth for our children and grandchildren, should be integrated.

The Earth Charter clarifies and inspires us to understand these linkages and to recognize that all beings are interdependent and every form of life has value regardless of its worth to human beings. Efforts like ensuring access to safe drinking water for all, will only be effective if they are complementary; from politicians, the United Nations in cooperation with businesses, spiritual movements and citizens who act in a socially responsible way.

There is a vision for the future, but also a line in history. Water security is a concrete challenge in a world in which more and more people live and tend to exploit Mother Earth. There is chance for us to meet this challenge if we really live our lives on the basis of respect for diversity, all people and for the Earth.

The Earth Charter calls upon us not to be discouraged by the magnitude of the practical challenges facing us and the bureaucracy which disempowers people. Do not allow cynicism to take over, but aim for ‘the awakening of a new reverence of life, the firm resolve to achieve sustainability, the quickening of the struggle for justice and peace, and the joyful celebration of life’.